Leadership – The Qualifications for Leadership

Posted on January 13, 2012

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A LOOK AT PASTORAL THEOLOGY

Leadership

(Part Two of Six)

THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP

What qualities does the Bible say that a leader must either possess or take all necessary measures to obtain? Well, based upon the definition I think we can see one thing must rise to the top. In order to show the way, we must know what the way is. Not only know what way it is that we are on, but the direction we need to be headed, and all the adjustments that need to be taken between the present and the destination. The word for this quality is vision. A leader must have a vision.

Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Why do leaders need a vision? Because without a vision those underneath them perish.  Not only does a leader need a vision, he must be able to effectively impart his vision to others. Otherwise the vision does little, if any, good. I am reminded of the story of Moses when God called him to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt. One of his reasons why he was incapable of doing so is that he was ‘slow of speech.’ God did not take that as a legitimate excuse from a man who needed to be a leader. Neither should a man whom God wants to use in a leadership role today use that as an excuse. The ability to effectively communicate is a skill, that while some have it naturally, most can learn. And all leaders should learn. God will not ask a man to do something which he is not capable of performing through him. There are several leadership relationships set forth in the Word of God. There is the government and subjects. There is the Pastor and church. There is the husband and wife. I believe that one can look at the examples of situations where a man should be exercising leadership and learn something from each.

The example that we find in the relationship between government and people is that a leader must be just. Romans 13:3.4 – For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. This passage indicates the nature of the relationship that is supposed to exist between a government and its subjects. It is one of fairness, and justness. When one finds oneself in a leadership role this is important to remember. God has set you in your place for a reason. One of these reasons is to be just and equitable. Treat individuals and circumstances and situations based not upon who is involved, but what is right and therefore what is wrong. Leadership, fair leadership, will be blind to persons, and who is involved in a hypothetical set of circumstances. One cannot decide problems based upon who is involved, but rather who is involved. When a person ceases to do this, they cease to be an effective and just leader.

Next would be the relationship between husband and wife. Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Not up for debate here is whether or not the husband is in a leadership role over his wife, but rather how he should handle the role that he is in, and as such the example we can see for how we ought to exercise leadership. The very nature of leadership at times demands that hard decisions be made. Knowing this, it behooves leadership to make them in love. Understanding that when a decision is made, it affects people, it affects lives. Leaders do not make their decisions in a vacuum and they only have limited impact. They can, at times, have wide-ranging, and long-lasting, impact. As the same time, sometimes the actions taken in love can be misunderstood. The peril lies in the fact that many times those that a leader is over do not understand what is best for them. So a leader, even while making hard and painful decisions, must always be doing so in a framework of love.

Lastly would be the relationship between a pastor and his flock. A pastor is most certainly in a place of authority over his members and as such God himself has given qualifications for that. They are that he must be the following; blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; not a novice, he must have a good report of them which are without; selfwilled, not soon angry, a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, just, holy, temperate. The deacon as well is placed in a position of authority and leadership in the Lord’s churches and Christ gave what was necessary for a man in that position; Grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith, let these also first be proved; blameless, their wives must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things, the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. I am well aware of the fact that these are the qualifications for specific offices in the church. I would contend however that they are as well a guideline by which all men should seek to strive that would claim a place of leadership. Because what we have in these lists is a man who has a ruling mandate because he has his own self in order. It cannot be stressed too much that as much as a man may love those around him, no matter how fair and just he is, if he is not an honorable and reputable man, he will have no ruling mandate.


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